When you drive faster than 15 mph on campus, there are
several things that can happen. All but one of them is bad.
When you speed: We have a 500 foot stretch of road leading from the entrance
to the Lower School. If you go double the speed limit, you will be
able to get your child out of the car 11.4 seconds faster.
Middle School? Another 200 feet of speeding gives you
another 4.54 seconds advantage over your non-speeding compatriots.
Upper School? 700 additional feet stretches your
advantage over non-speeders to 27 seconds! Even with the speed
bump, you’ll still have a decisive advantage.
All this is facetious, of course, but it amazes me that at
the end of a 5 to 30 mile (or more) drive, we still have students, parents and
faculty who think that the last .094 of a mile is pivotal in getting the child
to school on time, or an adult to an appointment or work.
You will spend more time putting on your shoes in the
morning than you will save by speeding on campus.
Distance and reaction:
There is no such thing as an average reaction time while
driving. It includes factors such as the mental processing time (hey,
that’s a kid!), the movement time (slam on brakes) and the device response time
(will the car stop in time after I hit the brakes?) But many studies
conclude that the average reaction time required to hit the brakes is 1.5 seconds. And that assumes you are not talking on the cell phone or to your kids, because
none of us do that, right?
1.5 seconds means that at 30 mph, your car will travel 66
feet before you can hit the brakes. For reference, 66 feet is the
length of the Lower School Media Center. And that’s just the distance
before your braking starts, which will be magnified by every mile per hour over
the speed limit. A good rule of thumb is that your total stopping
distance is twice your reaction time. At 30mph, you won’t stop for 132
Your car weighs from 2,900 pounds (Toyota Camry) to 6,000
pounds (Cadillac Escalade) or more. Hitting a child at any speed can be
crippling or lethal.
The next time you enter the Lower School parking lot, enter
the paved road leading to the Middle School or accelerate out of the Upper
School traffic circle, please remember this: The extra speed just
isn’t worth it!